The Patriots organization was founded by a group of parents, many of whom had been involved in the Greece Cadets program, in the fall of 1975. From the 1976 season on, the Patriots fielded both a summer corps and a winter guard every year. The 2000 season marked the 25th anniversary of competitive visual arts competition for the Patriots. The corps is based in Rochester, New York.
The Patriots is unique in that instead of being formed by drum corps enthusiasts and instructors, a group of parents searching for a safe and educational outlet for their kids organized the corps. The original management leadership team consisted of John Nolan and Jack Mellema. It soon became apparent that the leadership and dreams of John Nolan would carry the organization into the 21st century.
The organization has prided itself on a slow and steady progress in quality, although the road traveled was not without its bumps. The 1982 season saw a merged Patriots and Northmen corps compete under the name Fusion, but this ill-fated alliance lasted only one season and seriously jeopardized the future of the Patriots. The corps not only made it back to the field in 1983, but also began a carefully planned rise to national prominence.
There are three competitive groups under the Patriot umbrella: Patriots Drum Corps, which competes in DCI Division II; Patriots Winter Guard competing in WGI Independent World; and Patriots Winter Percussion Ensemble competing in WGI Independent Marching Open. The Patriots also support many community efforts to provide opportunities for youth in the performing arts.
Some highlights of Patriots history include: making Division II Finals for the first time, 1996; Winter Guard winning the WGI Independent Open title with a score of 99.05 in 1997; drum corps winning the Walt Disney trophy as the most entertaining corps in 1997; drum corps capturing all captions and the championship of Division II in 1999; a DCI bronze medal and another Disney trophy in 2000. The Patriots finished seventh in 2002 DCI Division II competition, but bounced all the way up to second in Division II/III in 2003.
The Patriots continue to enjoy a unique blend of support. The board of directors is made up of alumni and parents of current and past members. The corps director and CEO, Patti Nolan, is an age-out of both the winter guard and the drum corps, and many positions on the instructional and support staff are filled with alumni. This management structure perpetuates the philosophy upon which the Patriots was founded, the same structure and philosophy that they benefited from as members: a safe and educational outlet for the kids.
The Patriots' large bingo operation was substantially impacted by a New York State law banning indoor smoking. As a result, the corps filed for Chapter 11 protection in late 2003 and declared inactive for 2004 season.
[Patriotsdrumcorps.com; DCW, 1/04, p.2]